Stephy Mavididi

Foxes Beaten At Bristol City

Leicester City were defeated 1-0 by Bristol City at Ashton Gate in the Sky Bet Championship on Friday.

A 73rd-minute drive from Anis Mehmeti was the difference in the South West, a result which leaves City second in the table, but awaiting news of results elsewhere later in the day to see if they remain there.

Jamie Vardy’s return to the XI came alongside just three changes from the 4-2 reverse at Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup before the international break. Mads Hermansen and James Justin were the other Foxes to come back into the line-up.

The hosts were being limited to long-range efforts early on, Tommy Conway’s low drilled shot perhaps the best, albeit a simple collect for Hermansen. The Robins pierced through with more precision on 15 minutes. Conway again was at the heart of the action, belting the ball at goal from the edge of the box, forcing a solid stop from Hermansen. The Dane had to be alert to a follow-up on the half-volley from Scott Twine too, ably tipping the ball over the bar. The locals thought they should have had a penalty later on as well when Conway was sent to the deck by Wout Faes in the 18-yard box. Referee Andrew Kitchen was unmoved and it nearly got worse for Bristol City when Leicester broke away, although Justin blazed high and wide on the counter.

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Enzo Maresca

Manager Enzo Maresca watches on from the sidelines in Bristol.

Just before the half hour, with Enzo Maresca’s men looking to take control, a Harry Winks free-kick landed on Faes’ head. The Belgian – who represented his country against England at Wembley earlier in the week – nodded it down and it bounced away from goal. The early afternoon game was simmering, but yet to burst into life. Mehmeti then sent a long-ranger flying over Hermansen’s bar. City’s best opportunity of the half was just around the corner. Hamza Choudhury’s cutting, low forward ball was migrated onwards by Stephy Mavididi, into the path of Vardy. The Foxes No.9 galloped onto it inside the box, just off-centre to the right, and let fly, arrowing a low hit inches wide of Max O’Leary’s far post. Fine defensive work from Choudhury and Faes was needed to halt Mehmeti and then Twine again in the box as half-time loomed, while Vardy sent a low hit narrowly the wrong side of the post on another Foxes breakaway.

With both sides unchanged, something had to give in the second half. It was O’Leary’s turn to make a huge double save on 50 minutes. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s quick-thinking through-ball put Vardy away in space, but his powerful shot was parried by the Bristol City ‘keeper. Mavididi picked up a high ball immediately afterwards and worked it into a viable opening, but once more found O’Leary there to make the save. The Ashton Gate crowd were on their feet applauding their No.1 again shortly after the hour-mark. A mix-up at the back handed Vardy a considerable chance to capitalise, in space, with defenders stranded and the ‘keeper off his line. City’s third all-time top goalscorer took a touch and tried to side-foot it into the near corner. O’Leary, though, had recovered in time to leap across his goalmouth and superbly divert it around the post.

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Wilfred Ndidi

Wilfred Ndidi completed 90 minutes for the Foxes for the first time since his return from injury.

Leicester had started the second half brightly but didn’t have a goal to show for it. The Robins rallied after City’s flurry of chances and looked to make them pay. Maresca and the large Blue Army following behind the goal will have been relieved to see substitute Ross McCrorie’s firm hit cannon into the side netting midway through the half. Just after Justin had seen a penalty appeal waved away and Abdul Fatawu curled wide, Bristol City were in front. The ball was rolled across the edge of the area and Mehmeti was waiting to bullet it into the top corner from 18 yards. Mark Sykes, another Robin brought on from the bench, then forced Hermansen into a decent save at his near post, stopping the home side doubling their lead straight after the restart. It stayed at 1-0 in the end, leaving Leicester with work to do to regain their promotion-chasing momentum, but with time to do so.

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